The United States now has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world. We are now the world’s epicenter for Covid-19, and while the explosion in numbers is at least partially due to increased testing, much of it is due to our initial mishandling of the pandemic, despite having nearly two months of advance notice. (The link is to an Ed Yong article in The Atlantic. If you read nothing else about the scourge of our time, please read this).
The time for handwringing and shaking ineffectual fists at the sky is over. Social distancing over a longer period of time may not prevent a significant percentage of the population from being infected. The goal now is to buy time for the supply chain (particularly with respect to PPEs) and the healthcare infrastructure to catch up when the inevitable peak hits. There’s much talk of overreaction and news that at least one British expert walked back his most dire projection, but that’s not really true.
There is no sense in politicizing this issue. Yes, putting entire metro areas and states on longterm lockdown has serious economic consequences we cannot ignore, and the recently passed stimulus package may not provide sufficient relief. But for now, the consequences of a rapidly spreading deadly disease are far worse. The economy will come back (although probably not by Easter), but those who lose their lives to Covid-19 are gone forever.
Stay home, stay healthy, wash your hands.
The NCAA’s Board of Governors announced its revenue distribution to Division I schools. In June, the organization will give out $225 million, a significant reduction from the original figure of $600 million the NCAA had planned to distribute after the NCAA Tournament. With the cancellation of that event, and all other collegiate athletic activity through the end of the academic year, the NCAA is using its reserves as well as payouts from cancellation insurance to make the distribution.
What does this mean for Division I programs, and specifically for Kansas State? According to Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby, the league has lost about $14-18 million as a result of the lower distribution, which means Big 12 member schools will each receive less money than originally anticipated. That means salaries and budgets will be “flat” at least for the upcoming academic year, and maybe even beyond that time.
But here’s the most important question with respect to revenues and everything else: will there even be college football in 2020? There are several possibilities: a delayed season, a season with limited attendance, or even total cancellation. That last scenario is mostly theoretical since no athletic director actually contemplates the loss of collegiate athletics’ biggest cash cow. But if it happens, or even if we have a shortened season played to empty stands, the downstream impact of this pandemic could be felt for years.
At Kansas State, spring football practice was slated to begin March 18, but practice has been suspended at least until March 30. Athletic director Gene Taylor, and many of his peers throughout Division I, have suggested that the 15 practices permitted by the NCAA for spring could be squeezed in before the start of fall camp. Meanwhile, the 2020 Catbacker Tour, a major fundraising effort, has been cancelled.
In other Kansas State news, former Wildcat Elijah Lee has reached an agreement with the Detroit Lions.
Weekend Watch Party Alert!
There will definitely be Kansas State football this weekend. Join us as we have several small heart attacks on our way to a 4OT victory over Texas A&M in 2011. Watch BotC for details!
Life in Quarantine
I don’t know about you, but I’m on Day 14 of this social distancing ride, and I’m mostly ok. I have been home since March 13 and have not interacted in-person with anyone outside my household since then, except for a brief grocery run a couple of days ago. Surprisingly, spending extended periods of time working from home while my family is also around has not been as difficult as I first imagined.
— The initial flurry of online meetings for has died down now. I’ve only had two this week, with nearly all business being conducted over e-mail instead. It only took a pandemic for corporate America to realize that endless meetings are counterproductive, and if this goes on longer, we may discover that remote work is actually better? We’ll see.
— I think I’ve held on to my sanity these two weeks because we have practiced effective social distancing inside our home during the work day. I have taken over our office space, my husband is set up in our now-empty dining room, and my kid has commandeered the living room couch. We mostly stay out of each other’s hair this way, lol.
— As some of you know, my kid is a competitive junior tennis player. This year, he finally qualified to play in the Easter Bowl, but it was cancelled. All the local clubs are closed, and our weather has not been conducive (yet) to playing on the public courts. He hasn’t hit a tennis ball once in two weeks, and this is a kid who normally plays 15 hours a week! To his credit, he has handled the disappointment with unexpected grace and good humor. So, in exchange, we’ve just let him be. He’s had way too much screen time each day and very little educational or structured activity. He’s eating way too much sugar between meals. Maybe I’m a bad parent, or maybe I’m just a lazy one. But I think he’ll probably turn out ok.
I hope you’re all coping well with your relative isolation in your own way. We’re all going to get through this together. #FAMILY